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Levels of Security

Windows NT allows you to establish a full range of levels of security, from no security at all to the C2 level of security required by many government agencies. In this chapter, we describe three levels of security—minimal, standard, and high-level—and the options used to provide each level. These levels are arbitrary, and you will probably want to create your own “level” by blending characteristics of the levels presented here. Why not have maximum security at all times? One reason is that the limits you set on access to computer resources make it a little harder for people to work with the protected resources. Another is that it is extra work to set up and maintain the protections you want. For example, if only users who are members of the HR user group are allowed to access employee records, and a new person is hired to do that job, then someone needs to set up an account for the new hire and add that account to the HR group. If the new account is created but not added to HR, the new hire cannot access the employee records and therefore cannot perform his or her job. If the security is too tight, users will try to circumvent security in order to get work done. For example, if you set the password policy such that passwords are hard to remember, users will write them down to avoid being locked out. If some users are blocked from files they need to use, their colleagues might share their own passwords in order to promote the flow of work. The first step in establishing security is to make an accurate assessment of your needs. Then choose the elements of security that you want, and implement them. Make sure your users know what they need to do to maintain security, and why it is important. Finally, monitor your system and make adjustments as needed

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